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Closing Time

Out With the Old

Now this is a new experience for me. Starting off the new year in the lab has usually been a time for me to clean up the office and bench and think about what I’m getting done (and how that matches up, if at all, with what I should be doing). And I’m doing all that – more of them than ever – but doing it in a research site that’s shutting down does turn up the contrast a bit.
Officially, my last day here is at the end of the month. People are more or less free to go, however, if they’ve completed all their close-out tasks. I’m only partway through, but even so, I certainly don’t anticipate making it all the way through January here in this office. Iit’s actually nice to know that, rather than just wondering if it’s going to be that way or not. Outside of the standard checklist, the main things I need to have done are to finish up a couple of papers (Vial Thirty-Three and another one) and to make sure I’ve got a coherent interview talk ready to go.
Said office, rather than just being cleaned up, is looking downright Spartan these days, especially since I took all my plants home before Christmas. (I have a large window here, so the orchids are now under a grow-light at home to ease the transition). The shelves are being cleared to an unnatural state, too, and it obvious the minute I open the door that something big is up.
The lab, for its part, looks identical to the last day I worked in it (which may well have been the last day anyone here worked in the lab, because I really pushed it). But that’s going to start changing today. The afternoon will be for attacking the bench, and the morning is for writing manuscripts. If I need a break, I can sign notebook pages or see which of my files should be tossed out due to age or irrelevance.
Every year, you wonder how different the new one will be from the old. For me, the fix is in.

4 comments on “Out With the Old”

  1. milkshake says:

    Just don’t overdo it with your shut-down checklist duty – companies usualy hire the liquidation crews to clear and pack the labs – you don’t want to do their work for them.
    (The only people I ever saw doing their shutdown duties were folks who got their position at another company site and were therefore interested in packing and transfering their favorite instruments.)

  2. anon says:

    Milkshake is right; might as well let the HES/cleaning people earn their money. They care mostly that you don’t leave a bunch of in house intermediates/compounds laying around, but other than that it doesn’t seem too bad. Our neighboring lab is mostly empty, and HES was reasonable in their inspection.

  3. JMH says:

    When one of the biotech’s I worked for went kaput, we just had to wipe down the benches/hoods and toss away all our ongoing TC work.
    They ended up hiring a bunch of us back as consultants shortly after they got the estimate from the clean-up crews then the FBI stopped by to see what our plans were. I guess viral stocks from ID labs aren’t the easiest things to get rid of.

  4. ann says:

    I had my inspection on thursday. HES looked around for 5 minutes, then signed the paper. My last day is next friday, and I will try to stop by to see you before I leave. Even though I have never had the opportunity to work with you on the same project, I appreciate the discussions of chemistry (and your blog postings).
    Sorry for hijacking your thread. I sent out a message to the “alumni” yahoo group, but will repeat it here for the benefit of everyone. If you are relocating and looking for an apartment to live in for awhile until you find a house, check out It is a database of apartment ratings from tenants. I have looked at several places that I rented from before, and generally agree with their comments. At the very least, it will give you an idea of what to look for when you are examining the various properties.
    Good luck to everyone with your job search efforts, and to Derek with his upcoming publications.

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